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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Daniil Medvedev beat Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 7-6 (4) on Saturday to record his 19th straight match win of the year and reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open.
Medvedev will play for the title on Sunday against No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz, who beat No. 11 Jannik Sinner 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Alcaraz must win the title on Sunday to regain the world number one ranking from Novak Djokovic. In Indian Wells, the five-time champion Serbian withdrew before the tournament started after he was not allowed to enter the United States because he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Medvedev, the fifth seed, continued his dominance over Tiafoe, winning all five of their career meetings, including 12 of 13 sets.
“In general, I played at a really great level, but if I didn’t win this match, I would have nightmares for a long time with all my chances,” Medvedev said on the court in a televised interview after the match. . “Like six or seven match points and two times [I was] serving in the match. But I’m happy with my win. Now I can sleep well tonight and prepare for tomorrow.”
Medvedev’s winning streak dates back to Rotterdam in February. Then he won tournaments in Doha and Dubai. Now the 2021 US Open champion and former world number one can add another title.
Medvedev has proven resilient in the 12-day tournament in the Southern California desert. He overcame a badly sprained ankle and a operated thumb in two straight matches to reach the finals.
Alcaraz has played Medvedev only once, in the second round at Wimbledon in 2021. Medvedev won in three sets. Alcaraz said his biggest concern for the 6-foot-6 Medvedev is his height.
“He’s really, really tall, you know,” said Alcaraz, who is 6-foot. “What can I say? I think he’s just lost one match this year. He’s on a big winning streak and it’s going to be a really tough challenge for me to play him tomorrow. I’m going to enjoy the final and let’s see what happens.”
Last year, Alcaraz won the Miami Open and the US Open. On Sunday, he can win the third of three major US tournaments. After winning his first Grand Slam title in New York, the 19-year-old Alcaraz became the youngest men’s No. 1 in history. He relinquished the number one ranking to Novak Djokovic in January.
Alcaraz won Saturday on the strength of his first passes (he made 72% of them compared to Sinner’s 50%), his creative play and his ability to move Sinner up the court and control the pace of the game from his opponent.
Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won the women’s doubles title 6-1, 6-7 (3), 10-7 over Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia and Germany’s Laura Siegemund.
The Czech duo improved to 11-0 this year after winning the Australian Open in January. They split $436,730 in prize money.
ESPN’s Alyssa Roenigk and The Associated Press contributed to this report.